Hall for Cornwall is celebrating the official opening of new spaces in its transformed building.
The ‘Ope’ connects two popular Truro shopping streets via a walkway to the rear of the Cornwall Playhouse giving visitors a rare behind-the-scenes look at a working theatre. And elsewhere within Truro’s creative hub, new workspaces have been unveiled to support emerging artists and the creative industries through Hall for Cornwall’s Husa brand.
The opening of these new spaces marks a culmination of the £26 million transformation which was completed last October. Since then, the Truro venue has welcomed over 190,000 audience members through the doors.
The ‘Ope’ is named after the tiny connecting pathways between tightly-packed buildings often found in Cornish fishing and mining communities. It offers visitors a unique perspective on the inner workings of the theatre and includes an interactive Heritage Trail supported by the Heritage Fund.
It was officially opened by Cornwall Council Leader Linda Taylor, who said: “The Council is a proud supporter of Hall for Cornwall and having invested in the building’s transformation we are delighted to see the new Ope open, making this fantastic venue truly accessible to all.”
Meanwhile, above the new Green Room Café, Hall for Cornwall has launched its new Husa workspace, which means ‘to enchant and dream’ in Cornish. This combines co-working space and its artist development programme to nurture and support Cornish performance artists and creative enterprises.
Husa was officially opened by Chris Pomfret OBE, Honorary Vice President of Hall for Cornwall, and Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which helped fund the project with support from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and Getting Building Fund. Husa has also received support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.
Mark Duddridge said: “Husa is part of Hall for Cornwall’s mission to nurture the creative industries and new talent in Cornwall. With LEP and ERDF support it offers a dynamic and diverse co-working space that is a real catalyst for collaboration and innovation. Some of the businesses that come here are world renowned, so the Hall for Cornwall is a very local asset and in some respects a very global asset, right in the centre of Cornwall. It’s superb.”
Julien Boast, CEO and Creative Director at Hall for Cornwall, added: “The official opening of our new Ope and Husa workspace is a culmination of the spirit and vision that has guided the transformation of Hall for Cornwall. At its heart the theatre is all about connections – between communities, artists, audiences and businesses. It’s groundbreaking for a theatre to be open in this way and we’re delighted to be able to share even more of our remarkable building.”
The LEP has just published a film about its investment in Hall for Cornwall, which can be viewed here.
Husa is already home to theatre company Wildworks, Black Voices Cornwall and Cornwall Pride. As well as lettable offices, Husa includes comfortable hot desking facilities for small creative businesses, bookable by the day or month. It includes access to networking events and mentoring programmes, meetings spaces, refreshments and printing. Creative UK are among the first users of the new space.
Hall For Cornwall underwent a major three-year transformation between 2018 and 2021. This saw the Grade II listed building taken back to bare bones and totally rebuilt from the inside including the brand new three-tiered Cornwall Playhouse auditorium. An extra 300 seats has taken its capacity to 1,352, allowing to attract even bigger shows from around the world, most recently the smash hit Broadway and West End musical, SIX.